'Insufficient evidence' to charge father over Poppi Worthington death


The father of a 13-month-old girl who died after she was found with serious injuries at her home will not face any criminal charges.

The Crown Prosecution Service said on Thursday morning that there was still "insufficient evidence" to charge Paul Worthington with any offence over daughter Poppi's death.

A spokesman said: "The CPS has looked at the original decision in this case that there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction - as we often do in other cases. We have reached the same conclusion."

Poppi collapsed with serious injuries at her home in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, on December 12 2012 and was rushed to hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Mr Worthington, who was arrested and questioned on suspicion of sexual assault in August 2013, has always denied any wrongdoing.

But High Court judge Mr Justice Peter Jackson ruled in January this year that the 48-year-old had sexually assaulted his daughter shortly before her sudden death.

The conclusion comes after prosecutors reviewed the case once again following a decision not to pursue criminal charges in the case.

The CPS had previously decided there was "insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction" but, following Mr Justice Jackson's findings, said it would be "reviewing the case".

In it latest statement, the CPS said it was not its function "to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for the criminal (courts) to consider".

Mr Justice Jackson's ruling was made as part of care proceedings in the family court involving siblings of Poppi.

The judge concluded that Cumbria Police carried out no "real" investigation into the death of the toddler for nine months, and highlighted a list of basic errors in evidence-gathering.

He noted that senior detectives thought a pathologist "may have jumped to conclusions" in her belief that the youngster had been a victim of abuse.

Poppi was buried in February 2013, precluding a further post-mortem examination, after her body was released by the local coroner.

There was said to be an "absence of evidence" to find out how she died, or definitively prove if or how she was injured.

Cumbria Police referred themselves to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in June 2014.

The force later confirmed that three officers were subject to the IPCC probe - which has yet to be published - with one suspended and two others moved into different roles.

The suspended officer has since retired, one was dealt with by management action and the third is awaiting "performance proceedings".

Poppi's death had been shrouded in secrecy after an inquest in October 2014 controversially took only seven minutes to declare the cause of death as "unexplained".

A second inquest was ordered by High Court judges and will take place later this year after the first inquest controversially took only seven minutes to declare her death as "unexplained".